Community

Support our local growers & the Heathcote community

Posted by Jane Leckie. Filed under Community, Events

 


On the third Saturday of each month join us at the Heathcote Farmers Market to purchase fresh produce and small batch condiments, talk to the passionate producers, enjoy the rural environment  and catch up with friends. It’s a beautiful way to spend the morning and an excellent way to stock your fridge or get organised  for a picnic.

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What do mandarins have to do with it?

Posted by Jane Leckie. Filed under Community, Vineyard

When the mandarins on my tree in Melbourne turn sweet and golden  I know it is time to start pruning.

What  relevance does this have to grape vines?  Well, for all the years as I have worked alongside Laurie who has pruned our vines for 36 years I have brought him 5 perfectly  ripe mandarins which he has carefully rationed for each day of the working week and enjoyed after his ham and cheese sandwich on his favorite ‘Country Split’ bread accompanied by a Light Ice. Laurie is the best sort of worker to have at a vineyard – he does not drink wine!  This year Laurie’s health has, much to his frustration, prevented him  from doing the work at which  he is so skilled and that he has loved for such a long time.

In the past cold days and freezing winds have just been part of the vineyard year for Laurie as, with the eye of an artist,  he selects the canes to lay down for fruit in the season to come and those to ‘spur’ for next year’s canes. This year the cold weather is proving too much of a challenge for him. Recognized as an expert throughout the region our old friend has pruned at many vineyard including Jasper Hill and Mt Ida but has retained a special place in his heart for his vineyard, She-Oak Hill.
Each day in my garden as I walk past the golden fruit on the mandarin tree I think about the enduring impact Laurie has made on my life, the support he has generously offered to our vineyard, the pride he has taken in his work over the years and I share his sense of despair that, at the age of 84, he may need to start taking things a little more easily.

 

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The Sounds of Harvest

Posted by Jane Leckie. Filed under Community, Vineyard

I love the sounds which accompany harvest – the rumbling vehicles of the pickers arriving pre dawn to begin the day’s work,  the warning signal of the tractor as it moves ahead of the team with bins ready to accept the ripe and sticky fruit, the rhythmic snip as bunches are culled from the vines and  the intermittent calls of  ’bucket!’ indicating another 15 kls of fruit is ready for collection.

Most especially I love the sound and tone of friendly chat among the vines. People who may not see each other from one harvest to the next exchange news of their  family, holidays and health. They chat about hobbies and interests – last week it was quilting and the restoration of vintage motor bikes that seemed predominant. They congratulate us on the quality of the fruit and of course I am particularly pleased by this but Julian says they probably say that to all the fruit producers they work with!  While our team of local pickers, many of whom have worked among our vines for many years, all know each other they warmly and quickly welcome new comers and draw them into the conversations. The buzz of the gossip continues throughout the morning but becomes quieter as the day progresses and the focus concentrates on completing the days pick. While harvest is a busy and exciting time for us it is the friendships that are formed and the sharing of chat that makes it most meaningful.
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Heathcote Wine & Food Festival offers something for everyone.

Posted by Jane Leckie. Filed under Community, Events

October is one of my favorite times of the year, the vineyard looks a picture with brilliant green buds emerging from the neatly wrapped cordons, the sun shines and daylight saving has begun giving us extra hours to work and relax before the amazing sunsets herald the end of the day.

It is also time for the Winegrowers of  Heathcote  to celebrate their years efforts and welcome to the region lovers of  the red wines for which Heathcote is renown  as well as many delightful white wines -perfect for a warm spring day. The Heathcote Wine and Food Festival  offers seminars and masterclasses for those who wish to build on their wine knowledge, live entertainment,  activities especially for children, a great variety of  food providers and specialty products from the region including olives, walnuts, cheeses and preserves. Come along and join us on the 8th and 9th of October, relax in the picnic atmosphere and meet the people who make the wine you enjoy. We look forward to seeing you.

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